BRISTOL, Conn. (CBS/AP) — A New Bedford Superior Court judge ordered investigators to release copies of Aaron Hernandez's suicide notes to the former NFL star's family, less than an hour before his funeral Monday.
Services were held at a funeral home in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.
A lawyer for Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez went to court Monday morning asking a judge to release the three notes Hernandez left in his prison cell before he was found dead last Wednesday.
According to the Boston Globe, which first reported the request, Jenkins Hernandez attorney George Leontire claimed Worcester District Attorney Joe Early Jr.'s office had refused to give the letters to the family until the investigation into Hernandez's death is completed.
Judge Thomas McGuire granted the request shortly after noon. He allowed the district attorney to redact information in the notes to protect the investigation.
WBZ-TV's I-Team learned last week that investigators found three hand-written notes next to a Bible in Hernandez's cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correction Center. Sources said those notes were written to his mother, fiancee, and four-year-old daughter, telling them "I love you and please don't cry."
An attorney for another inmate also confirmed that Hernandez left a letter to his client.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, and he had just been acquitted of murder charges in the shooting deaths of two men in Boston in 2012. Hernandez's death was ruled a suicide.
His fiancee, mother and brother were among those at the invitation-only funeral service inside the O'Brien Funeral Home in Bristol Monday afternoon. Two men in suits checked IDs in the driveway as guests drove up.
Police closed the road outside to traffic as television news crews were stationed in a lot across the street.
The burial will be private at an undisclosed location.
Hernandez's family in a statement asked for privacy as they mourn and thanked people for offering condolences.
After the Massachusetts medical examiner ruled the death a suicide, Hernandez's brain was taken to Boston University, where scientists will study it for any signs of repeated trauma suffered during his years of playing football.
A judge on Friday ordered key evidence in the prison suicide preserved, granting a request from Hernandez's fiancee, so the family can investigate the circumstances of his death.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports
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